Sunday, December 23, 2007

privileged choices

on the way home from lunch with the kovacevics on friday, we ran by one of the local food pantries to drop off a small donation from our cupboard.  i laid in bed the other morning and recalled a recent article in the paper that lamented the dramatic food pantry shortages across the city and the country.  unfortunately, due to federal funding cuts and other economic factors, pantries that normally compensate for the needs of the working poor and underprivilged are bare. 

i got out of bed and gathered any staples we had (again, based on what we have it was hardly generous) and we donated them today.  as i approached the door, i had to first encounter the gaze of about eight people waiting to receive help.  as i walked away, the stunning privilege of choice dawned on me.  i thought of all the times i've stood in a grocery isle and debated over type and shape pasta - penne, plain, whole wheat, or organic...hmmm, what suits?  those who suffer in poverty are stripped of so much - security, often opportunity (yes, even in this country), dignity and with it, the ability to choose.  today, those who gratefully get free food from one of these places end up with whatever others decide to give.

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